Today, the Obama administration will announce  that all benefits payments from the government will be paid electronically, rather than with paper checks. This includes, but is not limited to, Social Security, unemployment, veterans benefits, railroad retirement, and other government benefits. If you do not have a bank account, you will instead receive a debit card through the Treasury Department’s Direct Express Debit MasterCard program.
This is a good thing and a long time coming. With electronic deposits, you get your money faster and taxpayers save money. Currently, 85% of benefit recipients are already getting their benefits direct deposited into their bank accounts. It’s estimated that this will save $303 million over the first five years and then $120 million each year thereafter. It’s estimated that it costs $1 to mail a check and only 10 cents to direct dpeosit it.
If you enroll for benefits on or after March 1st, 2011, you are required to receive them by direct deposit or debit card. Existing beneficiaries have until March 2013 to supply direct deposit information or request a debit card. The debit card has no monthly fees, no required credit check, and signup is free.
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